For the first time in 35 years, the U.S. fertility rate has climbed high enough to sustain a stable population, solidifying the nation's unique status among industrialized countries.
The overall fertility rate increased 2 percent between 2005 and 2006, nudging the average number of babies being born to each woman to 2.1, according to the latest federal statistics. That marks the first time since 1971 that the rate has reached a crucial benchmark of population growth: the ability of each generation to replace itself.
The fertility rate finally surpassed the replacement threshold again in 2006, according to a preliminary analysis of birth data released by the government this month. When the report was published, attention focused on a jump in the teen birthrate for the first time in 14 years, but the statistics show that was part of an increase in birthrates across almost all ages.
"The teenagers may have had some impact, but the birthrate went up for every group, including women in their 20s, and they account for a huge percentage of the childbearing in this country," Ventura said.
Some of the increase is explained by immigration. Hispanics have the highest fertility rate -- about 2.9 -- followed by blacks (2.1), Asians (1.9) and whites (1.86). But Hispanics do not represent enough of the population to fully explain the trend, and the fertility rate of U.S. whites is still higher than that of other developed countries.
"It's hard to say any one factor is responsible. It's frustrating when you can't put your finger on what's going on," Ventura said.
We're a little weird. We like kids. Well, pre and post Boomers do.
Kidding aside, this bares out with the anecdotal information that I have been hearing for a while. There's a baby boom of sorts taking place with the Gen X & youngers. Lyuda and I have only had our daughter so far, but we plan on a couple more. I know of several others from young people that this is true too. They want more than 2. In some cases significantly more.
Demography Matters recently did a post on US demography. Careful, the online genocidal type lurks there. However, one of the interesting things is that China and Russia are going to face a nasty demographic splat that will screw up their economies in the next ten or so years. Brazil, of all places, might too. DM is an interesting site and I am not so sure I always agree with them, but its worth reading now and again.